Aylesham Halt

The gravitation of coal miners from Wales to East Kent called for a new housing estate to be built at Aylesham. In connection with this, the Southern Railway opened a station nearby to serve it, allowing miners to commute to Snowdown colliery, this of which had already received an adjacent halt at the beginning of World War I. Aylesham Halt came into use on 1st July 1928, comprising two platforms which were of prefabricated concrete construction, each host to a quaint timber waiting shelter. Being a halt, no footbridge was provided, but electric lighting here was present, supported by the SR’s favoured concrete lampposts. This was a well used halt throughout the 1930s, which heralded the construction of more permanent looking buildings in this decade. On both platforms, the timber shelters were retained, but single-storey pitched-roof brick structures appeared to the north of them, comprising a ticket office and additional waiting accommodation. A track foot crossing was still maintained despite this. Unsurprisingly, no goods facilities were available at this station, but for most of the 1930s, there was a pair of private sidings in use.

Indeed, there was the inevitable change. The first modifications were to the platforms in 1958: these were extended at their southern ends, utilising the same type of prefabricated concrete as the original sections, to accept twelve car electric formations. Despite receiving a faster service in either direction in June 1959, it was bad news for the station thereafter. In 1968 all structures were demolished and replaced by a dreary flat-roofed CLASP structure on the ‘’up’’ side, whilst waiting accommodation comprised glazed bus shelters. A footbridge also appeared shortly afterwards, but even this was plain to the point of ugliness.

12th February 2005

Except the platforms, nothing of the original halt remains. The portacabin and footbridge are both 1970s structures, whilst the bus shelters on the platforms date from the late 1980s, having replaced similar abominations of 1970s-origin. © David Glasspool